Narine, Rana deliver royal blow

Kolkata KR v Royal CB: Back Lynn to star for the Knight Riders

Despite the loss of the experienced Gautam Gambhir, KKR's core is intact with the likes of Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav. The Royal Challengers will rely on the wily spin of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar.

Newly-formed Kolkata Knight Rider will start their campaign under a completely new captain, Dinesh Karthik.

Kolkata's innings, in contrast, got off to a flyer as Sunil Narine, the West Indies worldwide, smashed a 17-ball fifty. The first match will be a good indicator as to how these two sides will fair with their new-look teams this season. "As a captain, you're expected to at least go to the playoffs, that's the least anybody can expect", Karthik had said in his first interaction with journalists as KKR captain. AB de Villiers was off to a blazing start.

KKR took wickets at regular intervals but in the last over, Mandeep's pyrotechnics guided RCB to a fighting total at the packed Eden Gardens.

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RCB's star-studded batting line-up just like every year which includes Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli will be a treat to watch for all fans out there.

There were times when batsmen around the world were wondering how to pick Sunil Narine the bowler. He went to the pavilion by scoring 43 runs from 26 balls.

He duly broke a third-wicket stand of 64 by having De Villiers (44) caught at long-on off his second ball, before stunningly yorking Kohli (31) with his next delivery. The bowling did look better than previous editions, although spinner Washington Sundar had a rare bad day. Three matches went with the side batting first and four to the chasers so there's no real indicator there as to what to do at the toss. As many as 16 runs were leaked in the final over by Karnataka pacer Vinay Kumar who had a forgettable comeback for KKR. But just when the visitors were looking steady with McCullum looking in fine touch and Kohli at ease playing second fiddle, Narine (1/30) got rid of the risky Kiwi with a shortish offbreak that dislodged the stumps.

With the fall of the two massive wickets, Rana put KKR right into the driver's seat. Kohli is clear at [3.4] but AB De Villiers, after issues with injury, looked somewhere close to his best towards the end of the South African worldwide season and he's the pick at a generous [4.3]. This match was also Kohli and Uthappa's 150th match in the IPL.

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